Water Wars In The Mojave - Using Scientific Texts - Distance Learning

Grade Levels
6th - 8th, Homeschool
Formats Included
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10 pages
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  1. These activities are part of the longer, NGSS-aligned unit - Organisms and Their Environments - which addresses several NGSS standards. However, the activities in THIS bundle focus on the water cycle specifically - addressing NGSS MS-ESS2-4.MS-ESS2-4 Develop a model to describe the cycling of wate
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In this elaborate activity, students read two short texts that propose counter-arguments to the issue of withdrawing water from the Fenner Basin in the Cadiz Valley. Students answer questions while they read, use a graphic organizer to evaluate the arguments and the evidence provided by each author, and assess the situation through the Crosscutting Concept lens of Stability and Change using an additional graphic organizer.

This activity is part of the middle school unit Organisms and Their Environments. If you are interested in the complete unit, you can find additional activities at iExploreScience on TeachersPayTeachers or in the sample resource library of the Science Teacher Tribe Course + Community.

This activity is part of a complete unit that builds towards these standards:

MS-LS2-1 Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.

MS-LS2-2 Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.

MS-ESS2-4 Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth's systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity. 

MS-ESS2-5 Collect data to provide evidence for how the motions and complex interactions of air masses result in changes in weather conditions.

MS-ESS2-6 Develop and use a model to describe how unequal heating and rotation of the Earth cause patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation that determine regional climates. 

5E Model Phase: Elaborate

Learning Target:

Water Wars In The Mojave (Science In The News)

>> Students will compare and critique two arguments on the same topic to analyze whether they emphasize similar or different evidence and/or interpretation of facts.

Success Criteria:

Water Wars In The Mojave (Science In The News)

>> I can compare and critique two arguments on the the issue of pumping groundwater from the Cadiz Valley to analyze whether they emphasize similar or different evidence.

Science and Engineering Practices:

Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

Engaging In Argument From Evidence

Crosscutting Concepts:

Stability and Change

Prior Knowledge:

This activity is a part of the complete middle school unit, Organisms and Their Environments. It is designed to follow a series of activities that address resource availability in ecosystems, the water cycle, and groundwater and aquifers specifically. These activities are not included in this resource.

Students have already been introduced to the concepts of ecosystems, the organization of ecosystems, and briefly, interactions in ecosystems. They have developed an understanding of the water cycle, the distribution of water resources globally, and have specifically focused on the availability of groundwater in the United States. To use the second graphic organizer, students will need to have an understanding of the Mojave Desert (or any desert) ecosystem. This knowledge has been developed through previous unit activities. (Please see the Earth Science category for additional activities.)

If you are interested in the complete Organisms and Their Environments unit, you can find the relevant activities at iExploreScience on TeachersPayTeachers or in the sample resource library at the Science Teacher Tribe.

Resource Includes:

Teacher Guide (8 pages)

Student Activity Sheets (4 pages)

includes Answer Keys

For related resources, don’t forget to check out…

Earth Science

Weather and Climate


Water Resources

Terms Of Use:

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Total Pages
10 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
90 minutes
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how the uneven distributions of Earth’s mineral, energy, and groundwater resources are the result of past and current geoscience processes. Emphasis is on how these resources are limited and typically non-renewable, and how their distributions are significantly changing as a result of removal by humans. Examples of uneven distributions of resources as a result of past processes include but are not limited to petroleum (locations of the burial of organic marine sediments and subsequent geologic traps), metal ores (locations of past volcanic and hydrothermal activity associated with subduction zones), and soil (locations of active weathering and/or deposition of rock).
Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth’s systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity. Emphasis is on the ways water changes its state as it moves through the multiple pathways of the hydrologic cycle. Examples of models can be conceptual or physical. A quantitative understanding of the latent heats of vaporization and fusion is not assessed.


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